In the most recent violence to rattle the area, jihadists assaulted an army camp and a village in northeastern Nigeria, killing troops and civilians, security sources and locals claimed Sunday.
They said that late on Friday and early on Saturday, fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked the town of Malam Fatori in the Abadam area while riding vehicles armed with machineguns.
A military commander told AFP that “ISWAP terrorists stormed Malam Fatori and inflicted enormous devastation, which we are attempting to quantify.”
The officer, who wished to remain unnamed, said that one group of the attackers “attacked the military installation and engaged soldiers in combat while a second group went on a murdering rampage and set the town on fire.”
According to local Buji Garwa, the initial attempt near the Niger border occurred Friday at night and resulted in a hard clash with troops who repulsed the assault.
During a morning assault on the base and the town on Saturday, the jihadists threw explosives, murdered locals, and left others who were attempting to escape in a river to perish.
Death toll is unknown
Garwa stated, adding that a sizable portion of the town had been set ablaze, “It is not apparent how many people were murdered since we all evacuated the town and are now gradually returning to examine the damage.”
We have begun scouring the bushes for the remains of the dead, gathering them, and looking along the river banks for any who may have washed up on the beaches, the man stated.
Another local, Baitu Madari, claimed to have tallied 12 fatalities in her neighborhood.
“I have no clue how many corpses have been found in other sections of town. The damage is extremely substantial, she remarked.
An intelligence official said that the assailants originated from the adjacent town of Kamuya.
The source said that Kamuya, the biggest ISWAP camp in the Lake Chad region, is about eight kilometers (five miles) from Malam Fatori.
All of the prior failed attempts to harm Malam Fatori were fired from Kamuya, which was well-defended with heavy weaponry and explosives, the speaker said.
On the outskirts of Lake Chad, 200 kilometers from the regional capital Maiduguri, Malam Fatori was taken over by Boko Haram militants in 2014 but was recaptured by the military in 2015.
To fend off assaults from ISWAP, which broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 and converted Lake Chad into a bulwark, a base was built in the town.
Despite worries from relief organizations, the governor of Borno state ordered the return of thousands of refugees to Malam Fatori in March who had fled to Maiduguri and the neighboring country of Niger.
Over 40,000 people have been murdered and over two million people have been displaced in the northeast by the Islamist struggle that started in 2009.
A regional military force has been formed to confront the terrorists since the conflict has spread to the neighboring countries of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.